LONDON: A 16-year-old boy appeared in court charged with the attempted murder and rape of a 10-year-old girl who was found on a quiet country road in the southwest of England after being attacked.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will remain in custody before a further hearing later in the week on Oct. 11.
Police confirmed that the girl had been released from hospital after being found on Oct. 4 by a member of the public in a distressed state on a country road in Exmouth, Devon.
Police are encouraging any witnesses or people with dashcam footage to step forward.
Police urged members of the public not to speculate on the identity of either the victim or the suspect in this case on social media. Doing so could result in contempt of court charges and a potential criminal record, they warned.
A police statement said, “Anyone who is alleged to be a victim of a sexual crime are automatically granted anonymity for life; regardless of their age and regardless of the outcome of any subsequent criminal trial.”
“Any suspect under the age of 18 is also by law not allowed to be identified.”
“These rules are not solely for media organisations to adhere to, they also apply to members of the public and includes information posted via social media.”
Police have bolstered their presence in the area where the girl was attacked, particularly in parks and around schools in an effort to reassure the public.